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Concussion recovery: where have I been

November 30, 2021 Karianne 4 min read 5 Comments

It used to be a joke. I’d bump my head ever so slightly and say “oop I got a concussion ha ha.” But it’s not funny anymore. When you get a concussion, your head swings between feeling like Megamind or a caveman. Everything hurts your ears and eyes–even the moon is too bright! And I was gonna say something else but I can’t remember now.

August 7th I gave myself an actual concussion and my life will never be the same.

Sorry, that came out more scary than intended. Basically, the really scary parts are that I can’t go back to the job I had and my brain acts like a toddler–I need daily napnaps and forgot most of my vocabulary. (Can’t wait to see if/how that affects the voice of my blog posts now.)

Concussions are serious and they suck on multiple levels.

  1. The people around you don’t take it seriously. While it’s easy to see a broken arm, there’s not a cool cast to wave around when you get a broken brain.
  2. You get more frustrated with yourself because you can’t do the things that used to be easy.
  3. There’s not a standard way to tell how serious a concussion was. Which makes picking a treatment feel too much like “pick a card and see what you get.”

There’s no exact treatment for it because “nobody really knows how your brain will respond” (my concussion specialist said that). Concussions can be underdiagnosed or missed altogether.

Suffering from a concussion? Here’s what worked for me.

Download this list, print it, and stay off screens!

**I am not a doctor! The printout has suggestions that worked for me. Consult your doctor before doing or trying anything with your health.

On Windmill Ways we talk about things we learn along the journey through life. I’m not done with the concussion recovery process, but since I wasn’t able to look at screens for 3 months, I’d like to quickly share 3 lessons I learned while living under a rock:

1: Just because somebody can do it doesn’t mean my body can.

I got my lovely new brain trauma by just being dumb. I was doing a 5K obstacle course “run” (I walked). There were people of all fitness levels and it was a lot of fun. We had to do 23 obstacles, and about halfway through we approached an easy one: a platform about shoulder height that you pulled yourself up and then slid down the fire pole on the other side. I was feeling good. Feeling confident. Just ahead of me an entire group of super-humans ran at it, *booped* onto the platform, and slid down like it was one smooth move.

Jake asked, “Do you want me to go first and pull you up?”

I didn’t know why he asked if I needed help. It looked so easy!

“Nah,” I said. “I got this,” I lied.

I charged at the platform but instead of going *boop* and popping up and over I went *SLAM* and flipped down and under…

*I used my fancy degree in animation to make this rendering. This is not footage of the actual event.

The next moment I saw the blue sky, and heard lots of “Are you okay?!”s Embarrassed, I popped right up, waved it off, and let my boyfriend pull me up.

I then finished the obstacle course because I felt fine.

20 minutes after finishing the race the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life started.

2: Concussions aren’t funny.

As I said at the start, I used to joke about getting a concussion. I had no idea they could put you out of work for months and lead to lifelong health complications. When I was released back into the world, of course my first question was to ask everyone around me if they’d had a concussion before. To my surprise, many people had.

  • Kasey’s physical therapist got a concussion and she didn’t take care of it (ie resting and possibly getting the special glasses) and now she gets daily migraines.
  • Jake’s friend used to be really good at math–scary good–but after his second concussion, he struggles like the rest of us.
  • Two of the receptionist’s family members had concussions. The boy was out of school for 6 months and the girl took 2 YEARS to feel back to normal again.

And I can’t remember who else got a concussion (can I blame my concussion?) but there were others and they all said they were surprised it took their brain so long to heal.

3: Optometrists are crooks.

Do NOT buy glasses frames or lenses from an optometrist! I repeat DO NOT buy glasses from an optometrist! I spent $600 for frames + special prism lenses that their lab “was the best at” when the same setup was only $120 at Costco…

Long story long, I’m still recovering but I’M BACK on screens. And I can’t wait to talk about all the hard lessons.

Meet the author
Founder - Art Director - Animator | Website

Book progressBucket list

Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.

Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)

Would you like to share your story on Windmill Ways? Apply here.


  • Marcy December 3, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Oh Karianne!!! This is horrible! I’m glad you are still alive. The “golden retriever” in me wants to chew out your boyfriend for pushing/encouraging you to keep going. It sounds like you are in a similar situation as I am 5 years after the brain aneurysm. Some days I just can’t do what I used to do but I thank God that I am alive and I will be praying for you sweet lady!

    • Karianne December 8, 2021 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Marcy! It’s so interesting how the brain works! I have to take lots of vitamin D and fish oil now or I can really feel a difference. I hope your brain continues to heal as well! Thank you for the prayers!

  • Camerin December 6, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Karianne! I’m so sorry this is now your story to tell — but I know God is with you in this. And I love that you are already using your experience to try to help others. Your brain might not be functioning normally, but your kind heart certainly is. Sending big hugs to you, friend!

    • Karianne December 8, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      GAAAAH HI CAMERIN! I feel so honored that you read my story! Even though this one wasn’t as fun to share. I did enjoy making the animation though. haha. Sending you a big hug right back!

  • Laurie December 22, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    Oh no! OUCH! So sorry that happened! I personally am wearing a cast-like boot after running across cobblestones with my cello case and biting the dust at the Arboretum. You’re not the only one who is wishing for a time machine! I hope you will not have any permanent issues.

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